Three programs administered by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners have been recognized nationally by the National Association of Counties (NACo) with annual NACo Achievement Awards. This is the second year in a row that Franklin County Commissioner programs have been honored with multiple awards, which NACo issues to honor innovative and effective county government programs that strengthen services to residents.
Two of the programs awarded are overseen by the county’s Department of Job and Family Services (JFS), and one is administered by the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency. The two JFS programs are its Step Up To Quality outreach and training campaign for the Children and Youth
category, and the agency’s Prevention, Retention, and Contingency initiative at the county’s eviction court in the Human Services
Step Up To Quality is a childcare rating system that ensures that childcare providers are meeting the highest standards of quality. Beginning in 2020, providers in Ohio who accept publicly funded childcare must be star-rated under the state’s Step Up To Quality program, and Franklin County has launched a comprehensive initiative to help providers learn more, access training, and meet the requirements. Not only would tens of thousands of children be without childcare if their providers aren’t rated in time, but it’s also a workforce issue for their parents and for thousands of employers throughout Central Ohio.
The Prevention, Retention, and Contingency initiative is an emergency assistance grant aimed at reducing the county’s nearly 18,000 yearly evictions. Under the program, the agency has placed a case manager in the court to provide assistance before a family is evicted, has reduced wait time for assistance from 30 days to five, and increased the amount of assistance a family can receive by fifty percent.
“I am thrilled that our agency has received this recognition in back-to-back years,” said Director Joy Bivens of Job and Family Services. “And I am grateful to the Franklin County Commissioners for their leadership and support of this work. More importantly, I’m thrilled for the difference these programs are making in people’s lives.”
The third commissioner program awarded is called Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt, or P-JAC. Overseen by the county’s Child Support Enforcement Agency, P-JAC is a five-year federal demonstration grant project that seeks to increase parents’ compliance with child support orders by increasing trust and confidence in the child support agency and its processes.
“We’re so proud of the work that we do on behalf of the commissioners to support children and their families in Franklin County,” said Susan Brown, Director of Franklin County Child Support. “It’s gratifying to be recognized by NACo for our innovative work, and of course, the real reward is in helping to develop new ways to increase non-custodial parent support to help their children to grow and thrive.”
“We’re very fortunate to have innovative and people-focused leadership throughout Franklin County, as a result of the culture created by the commissioners,” said County Administrator Kenneth N. Wilson.
NACo will present the awards to the Franklin County Commissioners on July 14 during its annual conference and convention. Begun in 1970, the NACo Achievement Awards program was designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. For more information, visit: https://www.naco.org/topics/awards-programs